This blog comes to us from Terrence J. Roberts, PhD., member of the Little Rock Nine. He previously served as the Assistant Dean at the UCLA School of Social Welfare, and is currently Principal of the management-consulting firm Terrence Roberts Consulting. The following is his encouraging and reflective forward for Sara Ahmed's upcoming book Being The Change.
In “The Prophet,” Kahlil Gibran reminds us that it is when you give of yourself that you truly give. This gift from Sara K. Ahmed embodies the essence of that thought. You will be motivated to return to these pages often as you discover the quality of the offering she has chosen to share. Her willingness to speak to us from the center of her being is borne of a desire to educate, stimulate, challenge, and open new pathways to truth and understanding. You, the reader, are called upon to be “as transparent as possible and make your thinking visible.”
Sara models this behavior as she encourages you to be the change for your students; your choice to be an active learner will pay unseen dividends. As you walk into the classroom, your commitment to learning will be evident to all and sundry. If your level of commitment includes a willingness to do whatever it takes to learn how to connect with others at the deepest possible strata, your students will witness the drama of life unfolding before them in ways heretofore deemed impossible by many, cherished by all.
The tools provided in this monograph might best be considered as catalysts. Use them not as instruments to elicit desired outcomes but to stimulate thinking about issues and matters of import. As you follow Sara’s suggestion to “muddle through these with your peers before you engage your students,” you will develop even more skill and expertise. The focus will be less on covering the material and more on exploring aspects of the revealed content that have the most relevance for you and your students.
And, as if this were not enough, you have access to a toolkit that can travel with you however far you roam away from the classroom. Yes, the lessons imparted here in are applicable in every possible sphere of life. On the assumption that self is the basic tool in your kit, the enhancements gifted to you by Sara can be utilized in the service of creating a more nuanced, dynamic self. And, by my definition, any such self is compelled to learn the lessons life has to teach. And guess what? A lot of those lessons are waiting at the intersection of you and each one of your students.
Sara knows these things; she has lived this life, and she has decided to make her thinking visible in these pages. By doing so she pledges allegiance to yet another basic tenet of human interaction: she cares enough to confront. She has confronted and continues to confront herself, and now she confronts us, her readers, and asks the hard questions we need to answer.
Accept this gift in the spirit it was given, life giving unto life, in recognition of the fact that without each other we are far less than we could be, but with each other, there is no limit to what we can be, what we can become.
Want to hear more? Listen to the Heinemann podcast where Sara Ahmed joins us to share a personal story of empathy and change.
To learn more about Being the Change, visit Heinemann.com, or click the button below to download a sample chapter